Helmet Safety Ratings - Difference Between DOT, ECE & Snell

When riding your bike, a few accessories can make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable. However, the most important of all of these is a good quality helmet. Modern bikes come with a lot of features and safety upgrades. The engineering aspect of these vehicles makes them very safe for riding compared to bikes from ten years ago. No matter what the engineering upgrades though, a simple helmet can go a long way in keeping you safe. It is the simplest and most cost-effective way of saving a life.

The next time you decide to take out a Two Wheeler loan to buy a brand new bike, spend some time looking up the different helmet safety standards. This is an investment of time that will pay you great dividends in the future.

What is the use of a Helmet Safety Rating?

The purpose of any form of product rating is to ensure that a minimum quality standard is achieved during the manufacturing process. For a manufacturer to get a specific type of helmet certification, he or she needs to have a manufacturing plant that adheres to specific strict standards. This is done to enable quality control as well as the technical certifications that these helmets are supposed to carry.

Much like ISO ratings in India, Helmet Safety Ratings are a great way of increasing the customer’s confidence in a particular product. Generally, bike helmets that come with proper helmet certifications can cost up to 40% more than helmets that do not have a certification. This is because the extra costs incurred during the manufacturing process can be passed on to the customer.

What are the different types of Helmet Certification?

When it comes to helmet certification standards, there are three main kinds. Depending on the region where the certification comes from, different certifying bodies give out their certifications for the helmets.

For example, in the United States, the certification from the US DOT — Department of Transportation — is the required certification. In European countries, an ECE — Economic Commission for Europe — certification is required for a manufacturer to sell helmets. The ECE standard is accepted in close to 50 other countries as well. This makes it an international accreditation.

Apart from these two types of certification, there is also the Snell certification issued by the Snell Memorial Foundation, and this is a private non-profit testing organisation.

What is the difference between DOT, ECE and Snell Helmet Safety Ratings?

In the US, all helmets at a minimum are DOT approved. If you get a DOT approved helmet in India, you will not only have proper protection but also you will have the same safety standards as that of an international brand. When taking out a two-wheeler loan for your new bike, a DOT helmet is a must-have.

Snell certified helmets usually go through a more extensive testing process than both DOT as well as ECE. Because this test is administered independently and separately once can say that Snell certified helmets are safer than most other kinds of certification.

ECE testing, however, is probably the most recognised and up-to-date kind of certification worldwide. Being more robust than DOT, the robustness, as well as the safety of the helmet, is tested.


Because every test is slightly different and recognised by various governments and racing organisations, there is always some controversy around which one is best. However, the onus is on the rider to take an informed call before making any purchase.

Remember, no matter what kind of helmet you buy, wearing one is infinitely better than not. We urge you to always wear a certified helmet every time you get on your bike.

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